I’ve had a few questions regarding my training plan and how I’m getting back into running postpartum. I figured I’d dedicate a post that answers those questions in detail.
First, I was very active throughout my pregnancy. There were about 5 weeks between week 7-12 that I was pretty much hibernating in bed because I was so sick from morning sickness but aside from that I logged a lot of miles throughout all 9 months both on land and in the water. Here’s a bit of what my activity looked like
At the end of my pregnancy I wasn’t consistently running anymore. I stopped logging 4-5 mile runs 3 times a week at about 33 weeks pregnant because I began experiencing preterm labor signs and did not want to have a premature baby. From the beginning of pregnancy it was always baby’s safety above my desire to exercise. If I’d ever had pain (which I did at about 13 weeks (round ligament pain) and thus took a few weeks off from running and stayed in the water) I’d quit running. My desire for my pregnancy was never to be a pregnant runner but rather a mommy to a healthy baby. Pregnant runner < Mommy.
However, I remained active. I still made it to the pool a few times, took a lot of walks with Lily & the hubs and practiced yoga a handful of times. So for me, getting back into running wasn’t all that difficult. Top that off with a very easy labor and delivery and I was cleared 3 weeks postpartum to begin running again.
My first few runs were about a half mile in length and I’d finish them off with 1-2 mile walks. At first my hips hurt like the dickens. I felt strange not being front loaded. My boobs hurt and moved more than usual because they were fuller thanks to breastfeeding. My lungs felt like I was severely out of shape. But, I pushed through. I learned early on the necessity of wearing a panty liner when running and of just taking it slowly. I quickly began adding on mileage by adding additional running intervals. At 4 weeks postpartum I had a 1.5mi run and a 2mi run. By 5 weeks PP I had a 3miler. At 8 weeks postpartum I was feeling confident in my running abilities and the ability to bring Jackson along for runs. So, my husband and I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. We’d have about 5 months to train and I was confident that that would be more than enough time to train in a smart, safe way to avoid injuries.
First, I looked up training plans online. Most are 12 weeks long. We had over 20 weeks to go. I knew that things would be unpredictable with a baby, that my body is still crazy and that I have a history of knee problems from running (and that Bry has back problems from running). I was excited to have the extra weeks to have a more flexible and less rigid training plan. Bry and I are not very competitive. Our goal for this race isn’t to win or to clock 7 minute miles. We run slowly and really take time to enjoy the runs and the scenery.
At 8 weeks we began our training plan with a 5 miler, 3 miler and a long run of 6 miles. We felt good. Strong. Ready! I felt like I could keep running but again, the goal of training isn’t to push myself too far too fast but to train smart. And I feel like we are. Most runs I feel really strong. I feel like I have some left in the tank and I have enough energy at the end to still be the best mommy possible for my son. The more we run, the most miles we clock, the stronger I feel which makes me more confident in our plan. I should clarify that we run intervals. Right now our long runs look like this: 3min 30 second warm up walk, 5 minute run then 4 minute walk, 10 minute run, repeat until the end so when it comes down to it in our 7 milers we probably run 5.5 miles of it and walk 1.5.
Here’s what the rest of our training plan looks like from now until Race Day:
We have runs planned every Wednesday and Friday with long runs every Sunday and rest days in between, with 2 rest days after every long run. The rest days can be cross-training but not runs (at least for now to avoid injury). It works well for us! No day is truly a rest day with a 12 week old either. I am constantly holding him (talk about weight training), rocking, bouncing, feeding, etc. As you can see in our plan, some weeks are changed. Like I said, we’re flexible to whatever is going on. For example, in a month we’ll be in Texas. So our runs are changed according to traveling and things going on. Additionally we’re flexible based on how we’re feeling on a particular day. For example this past week we had a 4 miler planned for Wednesday. But we felt off. It was cold. Dark. Drizzling. Jackson had a bad night the night before so we had very little sleep so we cut it short to 3 miles. On Friday we had a 3 miler planned but felt great and well rested so we added on an additional mile and ended up with a weekly total that was the same as originally planned. Our goal with training is to be smart and ready in March without feeling pressured. So far it’s working really well for us.
My goals in March are this:
1) Get to the start line. Hey, you can’t get tot he finish if you don’t start 🙂
2) Get to the finish line.
3) Finish in under 3 hours
4) Try to run the whole thing but not at the expense of not enjoying the run
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!